Saturday, 28 May 2011

Arty Afternoon

While C had her nap I thought I would set up our first painting activity. We laid out our reflective blanket; a small ceramic dish that I bought from a charity shop for future 'sorting' activities with three paint colours and a couple of my art brushes that haven't been used for EONS.

I wasn't sure how enthusiastic she was going to be, but I could be pretty confident I would need a hand wash station, so I set that up on the opposite side of the mat.

Then she woke up. It's horrible outside so it was heating on and clothes off. She went straight over to investigate but was actually quite restrained and inquisitive rather than 'gung ho' like we thought she might be. Each colour had it's turn...a bit of red...a bit of yellow and a bit of green...

Then she investigated each end of the paintbrush. Painted with a bit of brush and a bit of stick.  It's artistic licence don't you know.

Stick painting
A bit of yellow
A bit of redA bit of green


Then came the bit I hoped for, full-on hands and feet.

Experimental techniques

When she started to wander off we thought it about time to introduce her little painty body to the handwash station. She proudly washed her hands before announcing "all gone".

Washing hands

Well done sweetheart, you're quite right, you're HANDS are clean.

All Gone

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Merry month of May

I should really add "but mostly April"

Practicing the flag waving

April saw the Royal Wedding (gawd bless 'em) and we held a little get together which involved much flag waving; cheering; eating and drinking all nicely finished off with a game of rounders. C watched most of it - when she wasn't waving her flag - and was probably surprised to see that we even owned such as thing, as tv doesn't feature much in our lives.  The Mentalist being the only exception.

Eating is still one of C's favourite pastimes and so, at the moment, is drinking.  From ANYTHING.  We're not complaining really as her skills are quite amazing: a dog bowl of water is quite heavy and she doesn't spill a drop!  Poor dogs now have to play hunt the water when they want a drink.  Never mind, it's all good for them getting in touch with their inner wild dog.

Even the sandy, play water isn't off limits.  Sometimes I look back at these photos and wonder whether I should have put down my camera and asked her for the jug; but what's a little bit of sandy water going to do to you that sharing your meal with your canine companions doesn't?

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The dropping her food in objects still continues, be it watermelon in a watering can...

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 Or biscuits and olives in a drinking glass....

Or, as she was doing tonight, meticulously forking one chip, taking it off the fork; dropping it in the water then 'eating' it.  Maybe if my face didn't betray my feelings of "eurgh" and if Grandad could stop sniggering, this phase will rush on by.

C loves being in the kitchen and one 'food' activity we did give her recently was that of peeling a hard boiled egg (we have no shortage of eggs!).  I think the concentration on her face speaks for itself.

Snack time

I'm glad she enjoys being in the kitchen as much as Grandad does.

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Thursday, 21 April 2011

dogs and dandelions

Wow, I hadn't realised how long it had been since I've been on my blog. We have had such gorgeous weather that we have been busying around outside, growing crops and playing. One of the unintentional crops we are growing is dandelions. They are littered all over the paddock and C loves them. True enough they are pretty to look at, but that's not what she loves about them - she loves eating them! Although they're really good for you they're not on my 5-a-day list, so she's welcome to them. They stick out like mini Belisha beacons and as she grazes around the paddock, not many have escaped her tasting.

Dandelion tasting

We are lucky enough to have a good outside space to accommodate a small orchard; our veggie plot; chickens and, a final indulgence, my dog agility playground.

Team work

C loves sitting on the grass watching me run the dogs and playing with them; hopefully she will enjoy running them herself one day. She certainly seems to enjoy being around them at the moment. Agility is such a fun activity, for handler and dog, even C's pushing-70-great-grandmother had a go at 'running' one of our Norwich Terriers. All good fun.

Young handler

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C copies what we do with alarming consistency, even admonishing the dog's excessive barking with a "ach", like I do. She tried to silence some quarrelling birds with the same technique, although it wasn't so effective on our feathered friends. What it did do though is remind us to set good examples, in how we handle the dogs; use objects; speak to each other; and eat. I say 'eat' because these last few weeks little one has started dunking her food in her water and rubbing her belly after a meal. Grandad, we need a word....


Thursday, 17 March 2011

roosters and rescue

We are working on becoming more self sufficient in the coming months - although realistically it may take years! We should have our first veggies and salad later on in the year and are actually forward planning for next year too.  As much as we would love to be vegetarian, it isn't going to happen so we are forced to think about meat products. H aving thought about it for a nano-second we decided that eggs and a trip to the village butcher will be enough for now. Voila...

The Girls

More Girls

We re-homed four ex-battery hens from Little Hen Rescue and whilst we were there also adopted a fine young man, who we have called Brutus.  Brutus is also a rescue.  He was one of many chickens removed from Chicken Roundabout  (I could swear that's him standing on the pavement on homepage).  In this household the fact he has a name means that he will always be safe from the pot (told you we were softies).  I know at some point we will have to think about his unwanted male progeny but for now we're enjoying watching him lead his flock of rangy-looking hens around the paddock discovering their natural behaviours.


And the bonus is that our little one will have many opportunities for hands-on learning experiences.

Friday, 11 March 2011

bongo, bells and books

Birthday Bongo

Birthday Bells

Today's title sums up little one's first birthday nicely. She's very much into rhythmic noises sounds, so that's what we went with for her birthday. I found the bongo drum in a fair trade shop and C LOVED it. She has just started to "dance" to rhythms that she likes and the beat of the drum was an instant hit. Funnily enough she has suddenly taken an intense interest in the sound blocks she has had for a few months now. To feed her fascination with noise I have filled the fridge magnets I got from Ikea aeons ago with pasta and nuts; now when she pulls them off they will be a bit more interesting.

Fridge Magnets

Also, the containers are clear so she will be able to see what is making the noise (cause and effect=very Montessori). Well that's the plan anyway. Here's hoping she likes them. If not, it's back to the drawing board with a beat of a drum.

I can't really sign off this post without posting birthday piccys:

The hand made decorations I spoke about here looked beautiful hanging in our kitchen. I am so pleased with them they are still up!

Birthday decs

The birthday ring.

Birthday Ring

More about the birthday ring can be found on my Flickr page here

Sunday, 6 March 2011

beautiful banners

Our little one is nearly a whole year old already. I remember being told once (by an OLD person) that time speeds up the older you get but all I remember thinking was "yeah, yeah, blah, blah, yeah". Sigh. The innocence of youth. Anyway, back to special birthdays.

I stumbled across this wonderful post and decided to adapt it from a Valentines idea to make little one a birthday banner/birthday decoration. After cutting out the hearts from some plain and patterned card, we cut out letters from this site to spell "Happy Birthday". Then I sewed the hearts together on the sewing machine.

Birthday bunting

Montessori talks of the importance of beautiful items and a beautiful environment and these certainly look so pretty.

Birthday bunting

I suppose at this point I should say we are Montessori inspired with a bit of Waldorf thrown in...the Waldorf bit of our birthday celebration will be a birthday ring decorated with items personal to C. Part of the "personal" bit is her love of cats and dogs, for which I want to make a felt dog and cat. So far I have a sheet of black felt, brown felt and white felt. HELP!

As far as gifts go, we will buck the excesses usually associated with celebrations by giving a few simple, natural and age appropriate presents. And books. Lots of books. She ADORES books and enjoys the DK Publishing Peekaboo series but her absolute favourites at the moment are Global Babies; Carry Me; Dog and of course; Cat. It is surprising how difficult it is to find books with real photos in, especially here in the UK.

If you have any book recommendations or know how to make a 2" felt dog or cat then please leave a comment! Roll on the big day.

Friday, 4 March 2011

pickers and stickers

Picking stickers

It is only polite that as you have taken the time to drop by that I offer a quick introduction. So here goes,I am a full-time (grand) parent to C, who is nearly one and I have no formal Montessori training what-so-ever, but I read and research A LOT. Some of the blogs I follow offer a wealth of information too but nothing in my opinion replaces hands on learning - or maybe that should that be "eyes on" learning, as according to Maria Montessori you have to observe the child to be able to identify where the child is at in development terms.

That brings me onto my adorable (aren't they all?) grand-daughter. Although mobile, she far prefers refining her "fine motor" skills to perfecting the gross motor ones. To be honest she spends so much time on her cute bottom that I don't think her fine motor skills can be any finer tuned! Of course, I'm only joking. I am making the most of this sensitive period by making everything as small as possible. She loves eating at a time...she enjoys pressing forefinger at a time and she LOVES peeling stickers. So our most popular activity on her playroom shelves are sticker covered bricks. The advantage of the stickers being on the bricks is that she is already familiar with the bricks and knows that the stickers aren't always there and therefore that they come off. I did try just giving her a sheet of stickers but they weren't easy enough for her so she got bored very quickly and of course frustration is not conducive to learning patience and concentration.

To be honest I'm quite enjoying thinking up new activities to interest her. This Montessori thing could turn out to be good for my patience and concentration too.